I believe in individual subversion. After having read enough to realise how we (especially women) strategise and navigate our movements and routes in public space, I felt more strongly about occupying public space in radical ways. I push my own limits and allow myself to surrender to public space in a way that previously used to be marked by fear (such as that of ridicule or physical danger). So now I do this thing where I dance in public. It’s never a choreographed or pre-planned activity, but I simply surrender when I feel like it – and allow people near me to join in if they wish to. Luckily, in most cases, people have been ‘enticed’ to join what they call ‘madness’. I make sure that I have a video camera with me, to gauge my own experience as well as the reactions of the people that surround/pass me. I have been doing this for the past 2 years now and the journey has been amazing. When I post these videos on social media, I often receive comments from people who describe my act as either ‘crazy’ or ‘brave’; but more importantly as something that can just happen in movies (whoever has seen any Hindi cinema would know how spontaneously and abruptly people burst into song and dance).
My little activity has allowed me to theorize about pleasure in public space and re-frame the idea of the objectifying gaze being replaced by a more hesitant gaze which is adopted by the people who watch me perform. I hope that this is one small way in which we can all re-imagine a radically different relationship (of trust) to the city which is otherwise marked by fear of violence.